The Startup Industry Keywords and Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

You might be the best at what you do, but if you’re setting off on your entrepreneurial journey, there are a few keywords and terms that all entrepreneurs should know. These keywords and terms are essential to your startup’s success and your ability to communicate with the diverse range of people you’ll come across in your journey. Below is a list of these terms, the sooner you know them, the better.

Accelerator – A program that usually provides participants with access to mentoring, office space, and cohort events. Startups enter a program for a designated period of time, and ‘graduate’ from the program having followed a set methodology to develop their startups.

Agile – A project management approach that originated in software development, in which a team works together to tackle a project or problem, responding to challenges as they come up.

Angel Investor – An investor with considerable wealth who is willing to provide a startup with necessary funding, often for a share in the company.

Bootstrap – An approach to establishing and growing a startup in which, the business grows as a result of the revenue received by the business, as opposed to investment from external parties.

Coworking Space – An office format where different startups or small businesses can rent or be given desks to host their business, while sharing the area with other businesses.

Crowdfunding – An alternative method of funding that includes raising money via the internet from a large number of people.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – A system (often online) for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.

Elevator Pitch – A brief pitch describing a business that aims to be succinct, persuasive and attention-grabbing.

Entrepreneur – A person who sets up a business or startup, typically investing their own time and money in the hopes of profit and/or social impact.

Equity – A stock or security that demonstrates ownership interest in a company.

Hackathon – A focused session in which individuals, teams, or large groups come together to ‘hack’ or chip away at problems, projects, or new ideas (as if hacking at a piece of wood).

Hustle – Any activity related to setting up either financially or materially beneficial deals for the business. This could be anything from networking, setting up deals, negotiating, or making sales.

Incubator – A space or program that provides startups with a shared space for work and a program to assist in its development. Typically aimed at new and emerging startups, they usually host startups in the space and have a similar goal of producing sustainable startups with a business model that attracts investment and growth.

Innovation Jam – A group session or workshop in which individuals, often from different industries and backgrounds, come together to ‘jam’ their ideas together to innovate and come up with new ideas.

Lean startup – An approach to growing a business in which only the bare minimum amount of investment or effort is made to achieve or test a specific outcome.

MakerSpace – A dedicated space or workshop in which the host provides the equipment, machines, and tools in which people can work to ‘make’ products or tools.

Meetup – An online platform designed to bring people together and create thriving communities by facilitating the organisation of real-life meetups and events.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – The most basic form of a product or service that a customer is willing to pay for. MVPs are one of the key outcomes of the lean startup approach.

Non-Disclosure Agreement – A contractual agreement between the business and any external parties in which the parties are contractually obliged to keep the discussion private.

Pitch – An outline of a business and its opportunities. The pitch is then presented verbally with an accompanying document called a pitch deck, generally with the intention of receiving funding.

Pivot – The act of quickly changing the direction of the business based on user or customer feedback on a startup’s product or service.

Prototype – A mockup (often non-functional) of the business idea, used primarily to test the idea with early users.

Seed funding – Early stage funding provided by either family and friends, crowdfunding or angel investors to support the business until it can generate its own cash flow.

Shareholders agreement – A legal document that formalises the business relationship, liabilities, responsibilities, and obligations of the shareholders (often the partners) of a company.

Small business – A business that typically is limited in size and revenue, is independently owned and does not have a focus on scalable growth.

Startup – A business that uses innovation or technology to demonstrate the potential for high impact and growth across scalable markets.

Sweat Equity – A non-financial investment by a service-provider or co-founder determined by labour, effort, and deliverables put into the business. A founder must place value on the amount of time spent on an activity or in developing the business.

Value proposition – The core value that customers derive from a product or service that they are willing to pay for or consume. This can sometimes be described as a statement a company utilises to express why customers should purchase their product or service, as compared to that of a competitor.

Venture Capitalist – A venture capitalist is an investor who either provides capital to startup ventures or supports small companies that wish to expand but do not have access to equities markets.

For more insight into what it takes to start a startup in Victoria, check out our free playbook.